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Two years ago, Michter’s Distillery started this whole urban bourbon land rush with the announcement the New York-based company would invest $8 million in a Main Street distillery/tourist attraction.

Eight months later, Bardstown, Ky.-based Heaven Hill, one of the biggest and most successful spirits companies in the world, one-upped Michter’s.

Heaven Hill executives announced they were building the $10 million Evan Williams Experience at Sixth and Main streets.

Fourteen months after that announcement, Heaven Hill appears to be ready to reveal the Evan William Experience, the first of at least five “artisanal” mini-distilleries planned for downtown.

(You can see a Vimeo preview here.)

(Technically, Dave Dafoe won the race, opening his Distilled Spirits Epicenter more than a year ago. But DSE is an education/contract distilling facility, not a tourist destination per se.)

Just as they’re ready to open the Evan Williams Experience to the public, Heaven Hill has announced a Hardhat Bourbon Series fundraiser Thur., July 11 for the Main Street Association.

The fundraiser promises a private, behind-the-scenes tour of the Evan Williams Experience, “the newest stop on Kentucky’s bourbon trail,” according to the event website:

Be one of the first to embrace Louisville’s proposed Bourbon District in this exclusive beyond-the-barrel experience. Only 75 tickets will be sold. Each ticket is also an entry for a custom-built bar table made from a Heaven Hill Bourbon barrel.

The Hardhat Bourbon Series fundraiser includes a special bourbon tasting, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

The event is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are $100, and only 75 tickets are available. (Which means someone has to go stag.)

The event benefits the Main Street Association, which in turn promotes events that benefit businesses and organization along that corridor.

So, is it worth $100 to get the first look at what could a facility that could change Louisville’s tourism dynamic for ever?

Well, we’ll just say that sometimes the accountant trumps assignment editors when it comes to how much journalism we can afford ….

About Heaven Hill: Founded in 1934, Bardstown, Ky.-based Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. is the nation’s largest independent, family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer and the world’s second-largest holder of Kentucky Bourbon. Heaven Hill’s diversified portfolio of brands includes Evan Williams Bourbon; Burnett’s Vodkas and Gin; HPNOTIQ and HPNOTIQ Harmonie Liqueurs; Admiral Nelson’s and Blackheart Rums; The Christian Brothers Brandies; PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur; Lunazul Tequila and Rittenhouse Rye Whisky.

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